Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Our Serious Food Obsession...The Poor Farm Budget 2017
Since we're already a third of the way through the first month of the year, I've decided to carry on with our budget conversations until February. It's hard to get any outdoor projects done at this time of year anyway, especially tonight when the winds are upwards of 50 mph and the majority of our buckets, feed pans, shovels, totes and wheelbarrows are blowing across the neighbors fields.
Not to mention the ducks.
So, onto our food budget. In years past we had a garden, raised our own meat and like others who work hard everyday and feel exhausted at supper time, we did our share of eating out. Last year we really reigned that in knowing what 2017 would bring and now, here we are, with a projected budget of just $150 a month.
This $150 must cover the following: food purchased at the grocery store, seeds or plants for the garden, any supplements we can't grow (like tumeric powder) and any over the counter meds. Right now the only med either of us take occasionally is ibuprofen and that is getting less frequent as we use more natural anti-inflammatory treatments like apple cider vinegar.
Obviously, there is no fat (sorry) in this food budget for eating out. Of course I broke that rule today when I had lunch with a friend. But, since I made this lunch date many weeks ago, I've cut myself some slack. I'll have to make it up by buying generic coffee. Not hardly. I can give up many things but good coffee is not one of them. So instead I'm giving up flavored teas, my beloved smoked salmon and learning all I can this winter about herbs I can grow to make my own teas and figuring out a way to raise salmon in the Midwest.
Over the years we've learned to shop the perimeter of the store, where all the fresh veggies and fruits exist, and thus ignore the middle aisles filled with processed and packaged foods. I do still buy pasta and rice but pasta making is another skill I plan to take on this year. My own canning has replaced
90 % of our canned goods we used to buy at the store and we are weaning ourselves from eating fruits etc... that are not in season.
We need hoop houses, a green house and as I mentioned before, a root cellar to preserve our root veggies, pumpkins and other squashes over the winter. We don't use coupons as we shop primarily at ALDI's where coupons are not needed since the food is already the cheapest in the county. Packing my own bags is easy, especially when the reward is paying less.
I now bake all our snacks, cakes and about half our bread needs. The goal is 100% of our bread needs by the spring. It's a learning process for me, I'm good with basic sandwich bread, and I'm getting better at hamburger buns, but my homemade crackers sort of suck. Twenty years ago I worked full time in nursing, and used to send my kids across the street to the restaurant in town to buy milk for their cereal. We ate carry out food 3-5 times a week. Ten years ago I worked weekends only and cooked during the week bringing home carry out 1-2 times a week. Now I cook every day, often freezing leftovers for guests or Keith's lunches and we never bring home carry out.
So tell me, what do you spend on food each month? For how many? Where do you shop? How much of your own food do you grow? How much do you bake ? How often do you eat out? What else do you do to keep purchased food prices under control?
Can't wait to hear from you. Now I'm off to make some popcorn, which our middle son grew for us here last summer, which is amazing when cooked in coconut oil and smothered in butter from grass fed cows and sprinkled with sea salt.
Oh how I love popcorn. Now I just need to learn how to make sea salt.